Mask of Wellness campaign aims to raise COVID-Consciousness

The Mask of Wellness campaign launched by Iowa City doctor David Krupp in May, provides resources to businesses to create a more secure environment for customers and reduce the chance of coronavirus spreading in the workplace.

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A graphic encouraging community members to wear masks, contributed by Dr. David Krupp.

Ning Guo, News Reporter


Iowa City physician David Krupp and pharmacist Robbie Schwenker recently launched the Mask of Wellness project with the goal of reducing the spread of COVID-19 by encouraging proper mask-wearing, sufficient hygiene and health practices in businesses, and changing the mindset around wearing masks.

The campaign has spread to more than 200 businesses nationwide after its initial launch in Iowa in May. It markets itself as a win-win strategy to reduce the chance of spreading the virus in the workplace and attract consumers to return to a comfortable environment, according to the project’s website.

Krupp, who has worked as an emergency physician at Mercy Hospital in Iowa City for nearly 20 years, said people were not aware the virus could be transmitted to neighbors and friends in droplets in early March, and masks represent illness in the American mindset.

Wearing masks has now become politicized, he said, and some Americans don’t want to wear them because they believe the government is trying to tell them what to do.

“That’s where I try to think I have to bring about change, and I need to make masks positive,” Krupp said.

Krupp said by getting restaurants in town to start normalizing mask-wearing first, people will look for businesses that have COVID-prevention measures, and others will get involved to avoid losing customers.

Mayela Pelayo, an employee at Adriana’s Salon & Boutique in Iowa City, said the salon joined the campaign as soon as businesses reopened in late May.

“We want to be involved in the community and let them know that we are taking all the precautions that we can to make sure that we are safe and that our clients are safe,” Pelayo said.

A graphic encouraging community members to wear masks, contributed by Dr. David Krupp.

For restaurants with a relatively large number of customers, requirements can be more stringent for their employees.

“We measure the temperature before every shift,” said Sarah Anderson, an employee at Micky’s Irish Pub in Iowa City.

Krupp said Americans can come to see masks as a patriotic duty and COVID-19 as a common enemy through cognitive restructuring.

Many Asian countries have more social control, which makes it much easier to fight COVID-19, Krupp said. However, making people consider the case counts in the country as a whole is a challenge in the U.S.

“If everybody starts to think ‘I have COVID,’ and if we all act like we might have it and be spreading it before we have symptoms, then that would stop the virus,” Krupp said.

According to the Mask of Wellness website, there are three different types of hygiene requirements for businesses in addition to wearing masks: personal hygiene, surface hygiene, and distance hygiene.

Krupp said he disagrees with the term “social distance” because it implies people can’t socialize, and it’s better to think of it as a physical distance because people socialize differently during the pandemic.

Krupp’s team of seven is taking the campaign nationally and trying to push it to South America and any other country that hasn’t taken enough steps to slow the spread of the virus.

“We can bring together the United States of mind to see one common goal, one common enemy: the virus,” Krupp said. “Then we can bring about change, but it’s going to take us to unite together with care and love for each other.”

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